Johannesburg-based Global Micro wanted to lead the Microsoft-hosted infrastructure sector in South Africa by motivating its resellers and recruiting new partners. It produced a cloud services sales tool with an orchestration engine using the Microsoft Silverlight browser plug-in and the Microsoft .NET Framework. The company signed up 19 resellers and has added 250,000 new users of cloud services in the last 12 months.
Global Micro specializes in providing software-as-a-service and managed services to small and medium-sized enterprises. It was awarded the Microsoft Hosting Solutions Partner of the Year in 2010 and 2011, and was the first company in South Africa to achieve gold status in the Microsoft Hosted Solutions Competency.
However, the business needed to support its resellers more effectively because of growing competition in the cloud computing market in South Africa-specifically from new entrants, including Google Docs and Box.net.
JJ Milner, Managing Director and Chief Cloud Architect, Global Micro, says: "Potential partners need a strategic adviser for their long-term technology plans. Our resellers wanted a sales tool to help them sell a variety of customer solutions made possible by Microsoft cloud services from Global Micro. They asked how they could understand the value of cloud services and identify sales opportunities with prospective customers and target markets."
Previously, Global Micro, which has around 19 resellers on its books, required them to distil best practices and processes from fragmented marketing and technical resources. Milner says: "Thereafter, they needed to develop their own strategies and methodologies to experiment with. There were some successes but all too frequently there were failures, largely due to lack of capacity within their businesses."
The Global Micro cloud services sales tool provides resellers with a framework for delivering cloud solutions, including sales and marketing information.
The toolkit used with the Global Micro cloud services sales tool includes a rich orchestration engine built using Microsoft Silverlight and the Microsoft .NET Framework development system. It builds on the 20-year track record of Global Micro as a Microsoft Partner and managed services provider.
The orchestration engine streams branded content directly into resellers' websites and tracks and registers opportunities and leads. It also offers resellers trialware-software that can be used for a limited period until it expires-and supports user provisioning.
Milner says: "More importantly, we use Microsoft technologies-including Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 Enterprise, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 7-as part of our execution strategy. Our competitors focus primarily on price as a differentiator. Our approach is to help our resellers integrate existing on-premises Microsoft functions with hosted cloud services based on Microsoft technologies. We show resellers how to improve their margins and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty."
Part of the toolkit, which includes cheat sheets and battle cards, is the offer of a hosted monitoring and reporting capability for the reseller, reducing the need to travel and respond in person to every support call. Milner adds: "We also use the Intel vPro remote asset tracking technology built into Windows to power down customer equipment when it's no longer needed by users."
The tools provided to the resellers include software audit features to improve compliance in their customers' operations. Resellers can also offer their customers flexible Microsoft licensing through the Global Micro Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement and High Volume Messaging Service Agreement.
The success of the Global Micro sales tool is evident from the progress the company is making with its target of 1 million users in the next three years, having already secured 250,000. Milner says: "The traditional way of doing business in reselling Microsoft products with cash paid up-front for software is under threat. Many resellers won't survive unless they integrate with Microsoft cloud computing."
Global Micro revitalizes reseller market in South Africa. With 19 resellers currently signed up, the company aims to attract 60 resellers in the next year and increase the scope in year two. Milner says: "We are providing our resellers in South Africa with the ability to copy all our business processes, systems, documents, agreements, and strategies."
Resellers improve margins by up to 50 percent. Global Micro claims that with its support, resellers can sell their first cloud-based service within 30 days and achieve full services integration in less than three months. Milner says: "Resellers' margins can be boosted from an initial 10 to 20 percent, to up to 50 percent."
Sales tool offers resellers business-critical frameworks. Milner says: "Each seller so far has been able to secure a positive customer case study each month. It's helping them become trusted advisers. They're experienced in helping customers make the best use of existing Microsoft assets while enjoying pay-as-you-go flexibility through the cloud."
Expanding the Microsoft-hosted infrastructure base in South Africa. Milner says: "Our Microsoft Gold Partner status is a good illustration of our ability to offer the best cloud-based solutions on the market. It's all about being simple, sustainable, and successful."
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